Oracle's Ellison Debuts In-Memory Database, Kicks Off OpenWorld

SAN FRANCISCO—Oracle CEO Larry Ellison didn't waste any time in making big announcements during his OpenWorld welcome keynote address here Sunday night. Ellison opened with the introduction of several hardware systems highlighted by an in-memory database technology that will improve database query speeds by 100 times with no changes to applications.

Ellison demonstrated Oracle's new capability, showing off his new product against Oracle's 12c database system offering. The new in-memory option promises 100 times faster query processing and an increase of double the current transaction processing rates. With the in-memory solution, transactions run faster on row formats, while analytics do better on column formats, he explained. This "breakthrough dual format" for both row and column in-memory formats for the same data, he said, is the reason the solution can deliver results at such high speeds.

The system will also be fully compatible—meaning there will be no changes to SQL or existing applications—and is cloud-ready without the need for data migration. The transition will be simple for users, Ellison asserted. "All you have to do is flip a switch," he said.

Ellison also explained that there is no need to put the entire database in-memory. Customers can choose to scale out or scale up with SMP boxes without the added complexity of transferring the entire database—a feature that distinguishes Oracle's in-memory solution from SAP HANA.

SAP acknowledged Oracle's new in-memory game plan last night, but claims the company is still missing the mark. "They are still trying to make queries run faster but missed the chance to simplify the data management at the same time. SAP HANA has been delivering real-time performance to our customers in real world environments for years," a company spokesperson told CRM.

"The good news is that you are now a believer in in-memory databases," said SAP Chief Technology Officer Vishal Sikka, claiming a four-year head start. "We have already changed the game and we are moving onto the next frontier."

Meanwhile, Ellison also unveiled Oracle's new M6-32 "Big Memory Machine," which is touted to be the fastest in-memory machine in the world. It's available immediately, and holds double the cores of the M5 it replaces, hosting 32 terabytes of DRAM memory.

"This thing moves data very fast and processes data in-memory very fast," Ellison said, and explained that the M6 has double the system bandwidth of the biggest IBM system, and costs less than a third of IBM's.

The last big reveal of the night was the company's introduction of a high-performance engineered system based on its in-memory solution: a new high-speed backup and recovery appliance.

The appliance was developed because backup appliances typically aren't designed for databases. Instead, they treat them as "just more files to copy," Ellison said. Oracle's solution is designed to transmit the update and transactional logs to the backup appliance while the database is running, streamlining the process and implementing changes while the backup is underway to avoid customer data loss.

The verbose name of the new machine—the Oracle Database Backup Logging Recovery Appliance—was actually Ellison's idea. "If you're wondering who came up with such a clever name, you're looking at him," he joked. "That's the actual product name. That's why they pay me the big bucks."

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